California Passes Cutting-Edge E-Waste Law

Consistent with its habit of pushing the environmental envelope, California has adopted the nation’s most comprehensive law governing the manufacture and disposal of electronics. The law has three main purposes: to speed the recycling of discarded computers and televisions (some 6 million of which await disposal across the state); to ensure that future tech trash will be less toxic by forcing manufacturers to stop using lead, mercury, and other harmful materials; and to establish safety standards for dismantling computers in foreign countries. To fund the law, new high-tech products will be subject to a $6 to $10 fee; if manufacturers won’t absorb the charge, consumers will. Twenty-nine other states have introduced e-waste bills, but none are as far-reaching as the one signed yesterday by Gov. Gray Davis.